BOOK SHARES SONGS, POEMS OF TONGAN QUEEN

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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Maganti Tonga, Sept. 23) – The launching of the new book, "Songs & Poems of Queen Salote" (Vava'u Press) at the Dateline Hotel on Tuesday was an emotional journey back in time for some to relive an era in Tonga's past when the Queen's classic Tongan songs and poems were composed.

Princess Mele Siu'ilikutapu, the eldest of the late queen's grandchildren who launched the book was emotional in recalling the days when she was young and put to sleep with a lullaby written by her grandmother.

Queen Salote, Tonga's poet on the throne, 1918-65, recorded important family and national events in her songs and poems. All the known compositions of the Queen have been put into a book for new generations of Tongans and students of Tongan poetry to read.

Songs and Poems of Queen Salote is a collection of 114 compositions, including songs, lullabies, recitals, laments, drama, and Tonga's great dances the Ma'ulu'ulu, and Lakalaka, with over 170 illustrations.

In the foreword a grandson, HRH Crown Prince Tupouto'a notes that Queen Salote, "drew inspiration from the magnificently spectacular to the parochially mundane, from the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II to the annual Free Wesleyan Church Conference in Ha'apai. She placed a stone on every cairn she passed…"

Work on collecting, authenticating and translating Queen Salote's compositions was begun in 1996 by a group of four Presenters. They are HRH Princess Nanasipau'u Tuku'aho who provided an invaluable link with the Palace and its archives, Dr Melenaite Taumoefolau, the Tongan linguist who translated the poetry into English, Dr Elizabeth Wood-Ellem, the Queen's biographer, and Dr Adrienne L. Kaeppler who contributed her research notes from the last 40 years. The Presenters introduce the work with essays, and the 448 pages hard cover volume also includes Tongan and western musical notation of a selection of the compositions.

Elizabeth Wood-Ellem writes in the book that, " Queen Salote is remembered by the present generation of Tonga mostly through her songs, which are frequently played on the local radio, and through their participation in performances of dances for which she composed the lyrics and sometimes the music and the choreography. Art endures after the death of the artist only if the people appreciate the artist's work. This is as true for Salote as for the greatest of world artists."

Pesi Fonua, of the Vava'u Press, the publisher of the Songs and Poems of Queen Salote said that the book is a milestone for his company, which has engaged in book publishing during the past 24 years, "it is also a milestone for Tonga's fledgling publishing industry," he said.

Following the Tongan launch, the book will be launched in Auckland, New Zealand on October 7.

September 23, 2004

Matangi Tonga: www.matangitonga.to/nav.html

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Need for my study and it really helpful for my future.

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